Our First Cruise August 19 - 26 NJ to Bermuda: Celebrity Summit Cruise Review by littleshells
Overall Member Rating
Our First Cruise August 19 - 26 NJ to Bermuda
After a nearly 2.5 hour drive from Connecticut (LOTS OF TRAFFIC AND DETOURS) we arrived at Port Liberty around noon. A More porter whisked our bags away and we went inside to check in. Check in was a breeze and took no more than 10 minutes. Before we knew it we were on the tram to board the Summit!
We decided to heed the advice of other reviewers on Cruise Critic and head directly to Bistro on Five for lunch to avoid the rush at the buffet. This proved to be an excellent choice for us. There were not many other diners there at all and we were able to enjoy a delicious and quiet lunch consisting of crepes, desserts and cappuccinos. A wonderful way to start vacation and absolutely worth the $5 per person up-charge.
By the time we finished lunch, around 1:15 there was an announcement that the cabins were ready so we headed directly to ours to check it out. We had cabin 7022, starboard forward. The cabin was clean and the decor was modern and pleasant.
The balcony had wet varnish and paint that day but it was no big deal as there were signs. Once we did check it out it was adequately sized for 2 with two chairs and a small table. My only issue with it is that it located directly over a "Sweet Sixteen Cabin" (one of those 16 cabins on deck 6 with the extended balconies) this means that if someone below us was on their veranda near the railing we could see them from our veranda. A little strange but not a huge issue, just something to be aware of.
The cabin had adequate storage and lots of hangers. One suitcase in the closet and one under the bed worked out perfectly. Safe worked fine for us.
The bathroom needs an update and the shower curtain grossed my husband (and I) out. The shower was simply too small and not all that clean. The exhaust fan in the bathroom cannot be turned off and was quite noisy. I suppose this was essential to avoid mold but it was irritating.
The location of the cabin proved to be an issue for us but was completely my fault as a first time cruiser. On the first sea day the seas were a bit rough (they even had to cancel the theater production that night) and being that far forward was really awful. It was so rocky. Not the Summit's fault but something to be mindful of when booking. Pay extra for a mid cabin, it will be worth it if you encounter rough seas.
Our cabin steward Jose (who was wonderful) noticed on the first sea day that my hubby looked under the weather. He was so concerned about him all week and really helpful and genuine. Jose was great throughout the cruise. He provided ice every day and always asked if we needed anything.
Our room was always cleaned thoroughly, we always received out Celebrity Today and turn down service was very appreciated and made me feel like I was on vacation. I loved the chocolates on our pillows at night and it was fun to see what different flavor we'd get next.
Avoid room service, it's not so great. Used it twice. The first time was on the sea day when we felt sick. I ordered a chicken noodle soup for my husband and it arrived cold. Later in the week we ordered breakfast which was ok but not great. Skip it.
We had Select Dining which I am not sure I'd do again. It was suggested to make reservations but you literally had to let the extension for reservations ring for 5 minutes straight (sometimes longer) to get through to someone and when you did they only seemed to have 5:45 and 9:00 available... no matter now early you called (even if you called days before). That was very annoying.
Food in the main dining room was good but not perfect. We had only two different waiters the entire time and both were fantastic. I just adored them. They always were so friendly and excited. If you like meat cooked rare make sure to really stress that you want it rare. My husband got a rib eye on day one and got it rare because he said "super rare" (LOL). Later in the week I had a T-Bone, ordered it rare and it was WELL, completely WELL done. Other dinners were nice and overall the food is pretty good, especially the escargot, I had them three times! Overall food was good, just inconsistent.
We only used the Sommelier on the last formal night because we're not really wine people. He was excellent and gave us yummy recommendations. Sommeliers were always attentive and present, bar service for other drinks or soft drinks was, frankly, abyssal. I am sorry but if you're going to have someone who ONLY takes drink orders it'd be nice if they came by the table BEFORE DESSERT. Not once did we have our drink order taken before dessert. That is simply unacceptable. Most nights we drank water until the last course when we finally flagged down a drink waiter. Terrible.
Don't miss the brunch on the last sea day. This was a highlight for us and I wish we showed up with more of an appetite. This event was incredible and had every single kind of food you can imagine. Do not miss!
We dined at The Normandie one night and it was delightful. Everything was delicious and cooked to perfection. I highly recommend this specialty restaurant and feel the $40 per person charge is well worth it. The meal was excellent and the staff was fantastic. A+
The buffet is a buffet. Nothing spectacular but adequate for lunch. There was a real language barrier with the staff though and sometimes they really did not have a clue what you were saying. That was tough. Salad bar was nice, very fresh with lots of options, there were many different and unique hot options for lunch. Breakfast was okay. Icecream was really good but often not very frozen so EAT FAST!
I had a nice cheeseburger at the pool grill but my husband claims there was something hard (bone) in his so would not go back LOL. I had no issues and enjoyed my lunch there.
Cafe al Bacio was nice and open all the time it seemed! Espresso based drinks are creative and STRONG. Has a nice selection of teas as well. Staff there was excellent. All of the treats in the case are complimentary.
We did not try the Aqua Spa Cafe or QuSine so can't comment on those.
The pools were small and over crowded. When we had some rough seas (first formal night) they closed a little early due to the waves. Seriously the pool turned in to a wave pool! It was crazy. You can never ever get a deck chair by the pool so don't bother. Too many people reserving them to even try. Not worth the confrontation, plus it's hot out there.
T-Pool (adults only) is TOO HOT! My husband liked it but I cannot stand hot tubs in general and this was like a huge hot tub. Less crowded than the regular pools though.
We did skip the first formal night because we were not feeling well. My husband was very sea sick and couldn't even keep medication down in the beginning. Around dinner time he felt slightly better but could not eat. I was feeling sea sick too but not vomiting. We spent dinner time that formal night at the pool. This proved to be good in two ways. Going in the pool when feeling nauseated really makes you feel much better. I think moving with the water makes your brain less wobbly. Also we were literally the only ones at the pool that time because everyone else was excited for the first formal night. It worked out to be very nice.
Sea sick tip: The pharmacy in King's Wharf sells patches if you didn't bring any 2 in a pack for $20. Worked wonders on the way back. Should have came prepared in the beginning. Also, guest services will give you medication for motion sickness, free of charge, if you forgot yours. My husband did not think he'd get sick, he never gets motion sickness so we didn't get patches... next time we know to get them and use them.
The Celebrity Today which was on the bed each night was a helpful resource that I carried around in my purse. Sometimes I didn't know what the events were going to be though because some of the titles were not descriptive at all. On the first port day we got a schedule for the bus and ferries. This was helpful BUT the schedule says "times in red only on Hamilton Harbour nights" and the copy they gave us was black & white. That was not cool.
My husband got a day pass for the Persian Gardens ($20 plus auto gratuity) and liked the saunas but felt they were too packed.
We purchased the Premium Alcohol package and though it was worth it. We didn't drink too much since we were not feeling great on the sea days but it was nice not having to worry about the tab at the end. This package included everything up to $12 and that was great! I loved being able to get bottled waters, soda, mixed drinks, martinis, beers and special coffees on a whim. I recommend it for sure. If you don't like craft beers or martinis the next package down $8 a day might be better for you. Again though the drink service in the main dining room is just awful though.
We did not buy any of the professional photos (VERY expensive) but I plan to next time because looking at all the photos made me wish we took more. The ones I saw came out amazing. I wish I planned to get some.
Entertainment was okay but not spectacular. The highlight of the large production shows were the aerialists. They need their own show. They are extremely talented! They were the standout in every show we saw, a huge hit. The "Aquafellas" an acappela boy band, were pretty good. Johnny Matra the guitarist/singer was horrible. He played a good guitar but he cannot sing. AVOID him! Singers in the big production shows were not that great. Blonde woman had a nice voice but brunette butchered "Somewhere Over the Rainbow". The cast talent show was really fun and worth seeing and we had a good time seeing the "Newly Wed/Not so Newel Wed show" hosted by the cruise director Jason. Bingo was a waste of money and held on the really rocky day so was a fail for us. The casino was fun and smoke free which is a HUGE plus for me (asthma).
Sale events felt like Black Friday and were overwhelming. Stay away unless you REALLY want something.
Jason was fine. We didn't go to a ton of events so we didn't see him around much. He was enthusiastic and funny, if not a but cheesy but overall did a nice job. You can tell he loves his job which is always nice to see.
We felt that the average age of the cruisers this run was 35-55. We are 28 and didn't see too many folks our age. No problem with us but something to think about. All passengers were respectful and there was only the occasional loud meat head around LOL
Bermuda is incredible. Horseshoe Bay Beach is a must and do yourself a favor and walk down a bit to find more secluded and amazing beaches. I have never seen such incredibly clear water in my life. Bring snorkel gear and explore yourself. Wish we got to Tobacco and snorkeled but time did not allow. Skip the Swizzle Inn all together, not worth it. Wish we got to the caves but didn't. Snorkeled with Jessie James Cruises and enjoyed that. Bus/Ferry pass is worth it but try to use the ferry more than the buses because those can get cumbersome. Locals are really nice but be careful at night, especially in the St. Georges area. There were some unsavory characters talking to us at the bus stop in St. Georges (talking all about crime/police/gangs/not wearing gold etc). We missed Hamilton Harbour nights because on the ferry on the way thunderstorms started so by the time we got there they were taking everything down. Bummer. Hamilton is nice and seems safe. It was cool seeing the HAL Veedam there (this week is their last run).
Embarkation was simple simple. We were the 9:30 group and instructed to meet in Cellar Masters. We were called at 9:15 (which got us to our ride by 9:30). Going through Customs was alarmingly simple LOL. Luggage is collected 11pm the night before embarkation and waiting for you in your numbered station back on land when you get there. Easy peasy. Customs line looked long but moved quickly. They have it down!
Overall, as first cruisers we really enjoyed ourselves. We wish we were more prepared for sea sickness but have no one to blame but ourselves for that one. Service was fantastic, food was good, pools were crowded, room was clean. I highly recommend Celebrity to anyone interested. I think maybe I wish there were a few more activities that appealed to me but I had a great time and never wanted to leave! I would love to do it all over again soon! Less